Chapter 1: Adventure.. Page 9

Posted: March 16, 2007 in Good Reads

Chapter 1: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8

The following year was educational for Wykka. His skill with the axe improved tremendously, but it was still far from adequate competence. Thankfully, he had Max and Eladred to look out for him.

During this time, they picked up three more ‘strays’. Eladred was livid with outrage each time. By then, Wykka had learned to look beyond his façade of cynical self-interest. The youth realised that the elf was moved by the plight of those ‘strays’ as much as Max. Eladred rather die than show concern, though.

Wykka had an inclination of the truth about the umpteenth time that the elf tried the following approach:

‘Look at that pathetic fletching. He’s going to be crow’s pickings before the week is out…etc, etc’

and then,

‘Ooh noo. I know that look on your face, Max. Don’t tell me you’re thinking of taking in another stray…!?!’

Max probably would not have noticed the said person, if Eladred had not called attention to him in the first place. Most of the time, the dwarf simply ignored him.

There were three who looked suitable for their little company, though. Max gave them all a chance to show their worth. Only one proved not to be a coward. His name was Paplo, a street urchin.

Paplo made their acquaintance by trying to pick Max’s pocket in Grulda. He received three solid knocks on the head for his effort. After a lengthy talk, assisted with healthy intimidation, they found out that he was an orphan forced into thievery by Larri Kingpin, the city’s underworld head honcho. Instead of hauling Paplo to the guardhouse, Max made an arrangement with Larri to let the kid join them.

The new recruit repaid the deed by trying to make off with the company’s gold, no less than four times. His behaviour was not wholly without reason. That reason would take sone explaining, however…

Paplo was actually the same age as Wykka, though they had thought him much younger, because of his size. By the time  he joined the company, Max had already picked up the other two ‘strays’.

The Marcus brothers, if anything, were big. They were also natural-born fencers. Neither Paplo nor Wykka could hold a candle to them, in weapon practice. Because of their talent, the brothers thought it justified to treat Paplo and Wykka like inferiors. And they knew how to throw their weight around, too.

Unlike Wykka, Paplo had been living on the sly from birth, and had never been rescued from murderous necrophiliacs by Max. Confronted with the brothers’ arrogance, why should he feel any compunction not to do a hit and run on the company’s coffers?

So he tried, repeatedly. But Max had the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox. Despite the hiding he received for each attempt, Paplo remained irrepressible.

This state of affairs lasted until their debut encounter with monsters. The aggressors were awrocs, savage humanoids with big yellow tusks and frightening manners. Max and company were camping out, en route to a remote trappers’ village, when the uninvited guests interrupted supper. In all probability, the awrocs considered them as supper.

Things were never the same again, after the Marcus brothers froze like a couple of popsicles, shitting and pissing in their pants. The second time this happened, just two days later, also because of awrocs, the brothers quietly slipped away in the night. Max let them go. By then, everyone knew they were not cut out to be warriors.

Since the mid-battle bowel-liberation, neither of the brothers dared bully Wykka and Paplo again. Ever.

The change to Paplo was no less palpable. There is something akin to magic when comrades unite in mortal combat, especially against ugly beastmen out to eat you. Perhaps it was the effect of entrusting your life to another. For Paplo, a sense of camaraderie and loyalty blossomed. He soon came to treat Max and Eladred like the parents he never knew, and Wykka as a brother.

Some of the awroc gold that Max apportioned him probably helped, too.

For months after, Max, Eladred, Wykka and Paplo travelled the length and breadth of Dylesia, accepting jobs as a company of sell-swords.

And so it was just the four of them, when they embarked on the mission to investigate the return of the Ice Queen, Ishar. Though there were no prophets to proclaim the coming events, it was to mark the beginning of Wykka’s Ascension…

 

                                                                to be continued…

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  1. […] June 13th, 2007 in Good Reads Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9, Page 10, Page 11, Page 12, Page […]

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  2. […] 2007 in Good Reads Chapter 1: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9 Chapter 2: Page 10, Page 11, Page 12, Page 13, Page […]

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